The pitfall of a romance scam begins with the scammer creating excuses and falling into victim mode, while you the actual victim, becomes the hero and their savior.
Scammers hide their true identity by avoiding video conversation. They fill victim's heads with excuses. Some claim they work on an oil rig, and the use of a camera will interfere with the equipment. Oddly, the scammer, can socialize in Google Hangouts, send fake photos and text but cannot video? What they have created is a victim of circumstance, and you the savior must sacrifice a healthy social relationship for them. Once you accept the situation, you are on the road to victimization.
The alleged soldier deployed in a war zone, says he can text, but cannot video? He can send photos, but not call. Again, it is a situation where the scammer comes off as a victim of circumstances. And you must accept if you want to take part in the relationship.
You can't allow excuses to control any online, digital or dating relationship. The person hiding their identity could be a romance scammer or hiding a wife and two children. Either way, Mr. Romeo wants to create a dynamic which puts you in the role of a caretaker but beware, playing savior always involves your money.
A problem is invented, such as a business shortcoming, his money is tied up in Cyprus and now he needs your help. Or a piece of expensive machinery broke, and funds are required, to avoid a shutdown. Some pull on the heartstrings, a daughter needs an operation, and he does not have access to funds. Then there is the one who claims he is being detained in a foreign country and needs money for a lawyer. You, as their so-called mate, lover and internet wife is the savior. Your job is then to reach into your bank account and send money to save them. Have you noticed, it is about their needs, and not yours.
Mr. Romeo Scammer will supply you with a bank account or Western Union information. Most likely, the bank will be in Turkey, Africa or another distant place. The receiver will not be the name of your mate but an unknown third party. Ask yourself, why are you sending money to strangers in strange in a strange land? It makes no sense. More importantly, why is it your responsibility to save someone you never met?
In the past year, I have been hunting down online romance scammers who have defrauded clients out of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars and euros. The victims are mostly women, men fall into the category of online blackmail, but that is another story. The emails received about personal loss and betrayal tell me that the there is an epidemic of crime occurring in the online dating world.
Ninety-nine percent of the victims I have encountered never had a video conversation with their so-called online love. Most never get far as a phone conversation. The relationship dwells in text messages, hangouts, emails, and other digital and social platforms. The victims fall prey to a format of deception filled with "I love you" and "We will soon be together." Then tragedy occurs, and the scammer needs help, which comes in the form of your money.
Romance scammers are constantly targeting victims. All met the scammers on dating apps and social sites, an each sent thousands of euros to their fake love. One claimed to be a US soldier, an engineer, an oil rig worker. Neither victim ever had a face to face video. All the scammers made excuses for why they could not video.
Romance frauds offer promises to visit when their military deployment, work contract or disaster is completed. They ask for help, in the form of your money. The military man needs money to pay the military to go on holiday, a lie! The fake business engineer needs money for a machine part or other type of loan. Another scammer will claim they sent a package, and require you to pay. Another soldier told a victim he was wrongly arrested and needed money for a lawyer.
Thinks about something, if your online love asks to send money. Why are they asking you to send money to Turkey, China, Africa, or the US? Why are they not receiving payment in their name? The answer is they do not exist!
A fake diamond dealer planned a visit to his victim. He said he shipped a package. The next day, an official allegedly with the tax authority contacted her because the box supposedly contained a hundred thousand dollars in diamonds, and she was responsible for the tax, or face the consequences.
Know who you are chatting with online. Receiving photos from a person on the internet does not prove one's identity. Anyone can steal photos from Facebook and pose as that person. Create boundaries, no video, block the person, and never send money to someone you met on the internet.
Frank M. Ahearn educates victims on romance scams.
He is the author of the New York Times Best Seller How to Disappear.
Email Addresss: ID@Scam.Guru